MILLERSBURG -- A local businessman avoided jail, but not a fine, for failing to remit more than $4,500 in sales tax receipts for two months in a row.
Harry R. Ice, 47, of 9250 County Road 192, Fredericksburg, was fined $200 on Wednesday, April 26, after pleading guilty in Holmes County Municipal Court to two charges he failed to file a state tax return, as required by Ohio law.
"I got a divorce and things started to snowball," Ice told Judge Andrew Hyde, adding, "I know that's no excuse."
The charges are both unclassified misdemeanors, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
Because Ice has since filed and paid to the satisfaction of the State of Ohio all outstanding returns, agent Jim Goodall of the Ohio Department of Taxation recommended the mandatory minimum sentence in both cases.
Goodall, who said the matter is "resolved up to this point," explained that Ice has established with the state a payment plan on all unpaid back taxes and was reminded of his ongoing monthly obligation.
Ice is the sole owner of Fire & Ice Pub, according to court documentation indicating Ohio Department of Taxation agents spoke with Ice on April 13, at which time he admitted he collects sales tax from customers and he is the person responsible for filing and paying the sales tax.
Questioned about his failure to file sales tax returns since September 2016, "Mr. Ice stated that he didn't have the money and got behind and could not catch up, according to the court record, which continues, "Agent Goodall advised (Ice) that sales tax is a trust tax and he is required to collect the proper amount of tax and remit the proper amount of tax."
A Habitual Offender Program letter was posted by an agent on the main entrance door and Ice was issued citations for failing to file sales tax returns for January and February, according to court records, which note that later on the same day Ice had come into compliance by filing and paying the outstanding tax returns, totaling $4,512.79, from September, January and February. He was given permission to remove the HOP sign and resume business.
Hyde, who adopted Goodall's recommendation, imposed a $100 fine and court costs on each of the two cases, noting, having the financial obligation to the state met "was my biggest concern.""The fact you've taken care of that is a big deal for me," Hyde said. "I'm pleased. It sounds like you have everything taken care of."
Reporter Christine Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.